A and B countries - A- und B-Länder
A-countries and B-countries are political classifications of the countries of the Federal Republic of Germany in those with an SPD government majority and those which are led by a union ( CDU or CSU ). In A countries the SPD is the government , in B countries the Union. If a coalition of CDU or CSU and SPD has formed in the country , the party to which the head of government belongs is decisive.
Areas of application
The division into A and B countries comes into play when the countries position themselves politically among themselves. This is e.g. As in the Bundesrat , where she attended the legislation and administration of the federal as well as in matters of the European Union are involved, the case. But also with other bodies in which the countries work together, e.g. B. Prime Minister's and specialist ministerial conferences , the grouping according to A and B side is used. In the run-up to the meetings, there are often informal meetings and agreements within the groups, whereby a uniform position and, if necessary, uniform behavior of the respective political camps is achieved.
The subdivision does not represent a valuation but is a coincidental agreement that originated in a conference of ministers of education in the 1970s.  In an overview under point A, drafts of the SPD were summarized, those of the Union under point B. The thus rather coincidental distinction has become naturalized in the following period in the various bodies, without ever being established.
Difficulties and alternatives
The demarcation always encounters difficulties for the prediction of voting results when a state or the federal government is governed by a black-red or red-black coalition, since here both parties negotiate on a case-by-case basis whether they should join the A- or of the B countries.
Since May 2011 there has been the first state government led by Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen ( Cabinet Kretschmann I ) in Baden-Württemberg and since December 2014 there has been a state government led by the Left Party ( now FDP ) ( Cabinet Ramelow I ) in Thuringia , both of which have no assignment permit in the original sense to A or B country. Both countries were included in the group of A countries.
There are also other criteria according to which the countries can be differentiated. There are area and city states , old and new federal states or R-states and E-states, in which the government is identical to the ruling or opposition party at the federal level.
As this is a purely informal delimitation that has developed from political and parliamentary work, there is no written agreement that could be cited as evidence. The speech by Erwin Teufel in the Federal Council  , however, illustrates the parliamentary exercise. The division was first made on November 8, 1974 by the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in a speech to the Federal Council on the Poland treaties.  The Bremen Education Senator Moritz Thape later confirmed that the formula came from the abbreviated language used by the Conference of Ministers of Education.  Also in the federal press conferenceAngela Merkel on November 16, 2020 on the Corona situation in Germany, the term was used.
- Fromme, Friedrich-Karl: Legislation in conflict: who rules the Federal Council? The controversy 1969–1976 , p. 177
- Lehmbruch, Gerhard: “A countries and B countries”: A note on the use of language in: Journal for Parliamentary Issues, Issue 2/1998, p. 348 ff.
- König, Thomas and Bräuninger, Thomas: A, B and C countries: On the use of the argument “language use and required category” in: Journal for Parliamentary Issues, Issue 2/1998, p. 350 ff.
- Speech by Dr. Dr. hc Johannes Rau on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Conference of Ministers of Education in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany on February 26, 1998, 10th paragraph, on the Conference of Ministers of Education website ( Memento of February 8, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 26, 1998 . November 2012
- Stenographic report on the 774th session of the Federal Council (PDF; 560 kB), p. 130, margin letter D)
- Minutes of the plenary session of the 413rd session of the Federal Council on November 8, 1974, p. 402 D.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of March 19, 1976, p. 6